A physical overlay framework for insider threat mitigation of power system devices
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Nearly every aspect of modern life today, from businesses, transportation, and healthcare, depends on the power grid operating safely and reliably. While the recent push for a “Smart Grid” has shown promise for increased efficiency, security has often been an afterthought, leaving this critical infrastructure vulnerable to a variety of cyber attacks. For instance, devices crucial to the safe operation of the power grid are left in remote substations with their configuration interfaces completely open, providing a vector for outsiders as well as insiders to launch an attack. This paper develops the framework for an overlay network of gateway devices that provide authenticated access control and security monitoring for these vulnerable interfaces. We develop a working prototype of such a device and simulate the performance of deployment throughout a substation. Our results suggest that such a system can be deployed with negligible impact on normal operations, while providing important security mechanisms. By doing so, we demonstrate that our proposal is a practical and efficient solution for retro-fitting security onto crucial power system devices.